Back To Basics Transcript

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Back to Basics (2)

In our last broadcast, we told the story of a top soccer league manager whose team played poorly against a low-ranking team, and how he took the players back to the basics of soccer, when, at the next practice session with the team, he told them, After our performance yesterday, we have to start at the very beginning. Now, this is a ball; it is made of leather, with a bladder inside, into which air is pumped. It bounces and it is meant to be kicked with the foot We used that story to illustrate the need for those who say that they are Christians, to get back to the basics of the Christian faith. This call back to basics is essential, as we witness many of those who flock into churches around the world, especially on Sundays, living lives that are more attuned to the worldcarnality, materialism, toleration of sin, self-gratification, and so onthan to Jesus Christ, our Lord.

We had looked at Hebrews 6:1-2, which states: Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. To appreciate this passage of scripture, we need to read a few verses of scripture before; that is, Hebrews 5:10-14, in which the Holy Spirit, speaking of our Lord Jesus priesthood, says, Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. The Holy Spirit is telling those of you who have been born again for a number of years, that when by now you ought to be teaching others the word of God, you still need to be taught the elementary principles of Christ. There are deep spiritual truths the Holy Spirit wants to tell you, but you are unable to receive them, because you are dull of hearing; that is, you are spiritually incapable of receiving such messages, and so you remain at the level where all you are able to imbibe of the word of God are those things which become of newly born again Christians, also referred to as babes in Christ! The Holy Spirit notes further that all such babes in Christ are unskilled, unlearned, or inexperienced, in the word of righteousness; that is, they are unable to discriminate between what is good and what is evilwhen they see evil, they make an excuse and wonder what is wrong with it! These are the people who say that there is nothing wrong with fornication, masturbation, divorce, remarriage while ones spouse is still alive, etc. These people see nothing wrong with divination (which they call prophecy), horoscope and palm reading, seeking help from herbalists or native doctors, etc. This is what happens to those who reject and refuse the word of God. Then, there are many born again people who think that every word they hear in church is the word of God; hence, you see them building their hopes on something that is nothing! Eventually, they get frustrated in their Christian walk, and turn away from God claiming that the Christian faith does not work! Friend, the Christian faith is lived in the spirit by those who are spiritual. The carnal man cannot live the spiritual life, for he is unable to, because he is natural, not spiritual. You cannot live in America, for instance, using the Nigerian approach to law and order, otherwise you will find yourself making a home in an American correctional facility, which is the name Americans call prison. When you travel abroad, you see Nigerian bigmen who, at the Nigerian airport walked past security unchecked, patiently wait in line at the airport of the country they are visiting to be checked. If you say you are a Christian, therefore, you ought to apprise yourself of what it means to be a Christian, and begin to live that way; otherwise, you would lose all the benefits that accrue to those who are Christians, and become a vagabond or wanderer, going from church to church, without any satisfaction or fulfillment in life, and with nothing to hold on to in eternity!

Going back to Hebrews 6:1-2, we see that six elementary principles of Christ are mentioned as follows:
- Repentance from dead works
- Faith towards God
- The doctrine of baptisms
- The doctrine of laying on of hands
- The doctrine of resurrection of the dead
- The doctrine of eternal judgment

These six elementary principles are foundations or beginnings, and the basis for everything a Christian does. The man who is a professor, an engineer, an accountant, or a medical doctor, first had to go to elementary school, where the foundation of his occupation, profession, or vocation, was laid. He had to begin with reciting the A, B, C up to Z, and counting 1, 2, 3 up to 10, before moving on to two letter words, spelling and writing; he had to count up to 100, and then moved on to addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and so on. And no matter how high a man becomes in society, he still has to use what he learnt in elementary school such as spelling, writing, addition, subtraction, and so on. It is the same with these elementary principles of Christthey are the A, B, C and 1, 2, 3 of Christianity. They must be ingrained in the life of a Christian, otherwise, he remains immature after his new birth, becoming unlearned or illiterate in the things of God, and may become a spiritual motor park tout or a spiritual thug, bullying his way through life, but not really able to handle spiritual matters appropriately. He ends up being carnalunbroken, sinning, spiritually insane, and so on. We see some people who claim to be church leaders, who dont even know these elementary principles of Christ, and who cannot therefore impart same to their congregants. These people think that being a church leader means being able to preach eloquently; but that is not what church leadership is about. Church leadership is about submission to God in service and sacrifice, not ostentation and being overlords!

Another observation about Hebrews 6:1-2, is that these elementary or foundational principles are doctrines. A doctrine is a teaching which is sacrosanct; that is, they are not subject to debate or argument, just as 1+1=2 does not lend itself to argument! A doctrine is a progressive instruction, exposition, or teaching of spiritual truth, as distinct from preaching or exhortation. Doctrines open up hitherto unknown spiritual truth or principles to the Christian which then enable him to function as he should. It involves dissecting spiritual truth in order to enable the component parts to be closely studied, with a view to correct application of same by the Christian. For instance, the doctrine of salvation tells us that salvation is an all-embracing concept, and has the meaning of health, healing, deliverance, peace, joy, etc. It connotes the deliverance of a person from bondage to sin, his salvation from Gods impending judgment on sinners, and freedom from slavery to the world system. Thus, when we teach on salvation, we equate the deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Egypt to the salvation or deliverance of the believer from bondage to sin and the world. Hence, as Israel walked out of Egypt in one day because of the blood of slain lambs, so does a Christian walk out of every influence of sin, the flesh, and the world in an instant, because of the blood of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, fear and ignorance about the power of God has made many Christians who have already been saved to return to bondage, just as the Israelites almost returned to Egypt when they were faced with the prospect of the Red Sea in front of them, and Pharaoh and his army behind them. You see, once a person is saved by God through Jesus Christ, he is indeed saved; however, the devil and his agents will not allow him to go free without trying to drag him back into bondage and slavery to sin, the flesh, and the world. And this is where teachings come in, to open such a person up to the things which God has prepared for his benefit and total deliverance! Just as God, through Moses, opened up the Red Sea, revealing an escape route for Israel, so God, through His word and the Holy Spirits leading reveal ways of escape from the plot of the enemy to bring the Christian back into bondage.

A doctrine is the education which brings spiritual knowledge to the hitherto unlearned Christian. Just as Moses had to teach the children of Israel the Laws of God after they got out of Egypt, so also, the newly born again individual is taught the word of God. The bible says in 1 Peter 2:2, As new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. A Christian matures as he imbibes the undiluted word of God. His life is built and established on doctrines, not on miracles, nor on giving and receiving. Acts 2:42 tells us that those who gladly received the word of God for their salvation continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine among other things, further underscoring the importance of doctrinal teachings, particularly, foundational doctrines.

It is clear that without a proper Christian foundation, a Christian will have nothing to keep him from falling away from the faith when hard times, trials, and persecution, hit him, and even when prosperity comes his way. A Christian without a proper Christian foundation is like a ship without an anchorevery storm will toss it about, and even sweep it away. Similarly, if a Christian is not established upon Christ and his elementary principles, which is the foundation of the believer in Christ, he will soon fall away from the faith when faced with the challenges of life, when the lure of sin tempts him, and when the devil ensnares him with pleasures and worldliness. Beloved, God does not promise the absence of trials, and tough times; He promises His presence and deliverance from them all! Your life as a Christian only has meaning when it is founded on Christ, the Rock; not on miracles or making money, not on jobs or career, not on contacts or contracts, not on marriage or children; No, your life as a Christian is to be based on Christ, period! Next week, we shall begin to look at the first layer of the elementary principles of Christrepentance from dead works; and this is an opportunity for you, if you are a Christian, to attend to the doctrines of Christ, and be established firmly in the faith!

And if you are not a Christian, even though you may attend church regularly, you can rest assured that when tough and rough times arise, like is happening all around now, you will not be able to cope with those challenges from a righteous perspective. You may be able to use trickery, but in the end, even you will know that you are on shaky grounds. It is only in Christ that you are guaranteed of Gods presence and protection, and the grace to endure tough and rough times; as well as the full assurance of eternal life after physical death. May we respectfully ask that you turn to God in repentance today and receive the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ? To obtain the salvation of God from sin and the impending judgment on sinners, you need to ask God for forgiveness of your sinful conducts over the years, and renounce all allegiance to the devil, sin, the world, and, your friends and relationships which characterize sinful living. Make up your mind to abandon sinful living completely, and then begin to learn and put to practice the elementary principles of Christ in your life!

Let us pray!